103, Day 3
ONE HUNDRED BASS A DAY
P-Arrow Plantation Becomes a Reality
NOTE: Drayton Pruitt of Livingston, Alabama,
considers hunting and fishing not recreations that he participates in
but also the two outdoor sports he's passionate about. The fields, the
land and the lakes where Pruitt grew up hunting and fishing as a boy he
worked to buy as a man. Once he purchased the land and the water, he then
set out to produce hunting and fishing experiences for today's sportsmen
of the type and the quality that he knew in his youth. According to Pruitt,
"In the old days, you could find 10 to 20 coveys of quail in a day
of hunting. You could also catch many big bass in the farm ponds around
Livingston. But as timber practices, farming practices and urbanization
changed the face of the landscape, this region lost much of that rich
hunting and fishing heritage. Through using the best wildlife-management
practices available, we set out to develop a quail-hunting preserve and
a bass-fishing program to rival any in the nation."
Why did you decide to convert your farm ponds and catfish ponds into trophy
Pruitt: I had catfish ponds already established, and I was having
recreational quail hunts for friends and family on the property. And after
watching a video Ray Scott produced on how to build and manage ponds for
trophy bass, we decided to convert our catfish ponds into trophy bas lakes.
But I didn't want to have all my ponds look exactly the same. I knew I'd
get bored fishing the same type of lake every day, and I thought my customers
would too. So we tried to make every pond different and special. Then
the anglers who came to P-Arrow could tell us how they wanted to fish
for bass, and we could take them to a pond set up for their style of fishing.
Phillips: Tell me about the ponds on your property.
Pruitt: I know the Brewer pond is more than 65 years old, because
I fished in it when I was a child. This small pond has the native strain
of Alabama largemouth bass in it. It also homes shellcrackers and bluegills.
This old pond is part of our history. If a fly-fisherman likes to catch
bass and bream, then this pond will let him do that. It also has some
really big bass in it.
One of your newer ponds is the Horseshoe Pond. How big is the pond, and
how did you build it?
Pruitt: This pond is 35 acres and is loaded with cedar trees and
stocked with big fish. We initially stocked the lake with grown fish that
weighed from 2 to 6 pounds each. Within two years, we were catching 10-
to 12-pond bass out of it. That was a phenomenal growth rate for any body
Phillips: Why were you able to grow big bass so
Pruitt: I had originally built this pond to commercially grow crawfish.
I stocked it with crawfish, but I soon learned I wasn't a really good
crawfish farmer. But apparently, a large number of the crawfish stayed
in the lake. So, when we started adding the bass, the bass developed a
real appetite for crawfish. For the first two years when we fished this
lake, every bass we caught was loaded with crawfish in its belly. If you're
considering building a pond to grow big bass, you may want to think about
putting crawfish in the pond first. These crawfish seemed to jump-start
the pond and put weight on mature bass quickly.
Phillips: What else are you doing to grow bass
to trophy size in a short time?
Pruitt: We're feeding our bream high-protein pellets out of a feeder.
The more protein the bream eat, the more protein the bass will get when
they feed on the bream. We've also added tilapia to the lake. The tilapia
grow well and are a good food source for the bass through the spring and
summer, but then they die off in the fall, which keeps your ponds from
becoming crowded. Our ponds are under a strict management program to try
and grow the biggest bass that we can grow as fast as we can grow them.
We can ensure a quality fishing experience for anglers who choose to fish
more information, write to P-Arrow Plantation at P.O. Box 1037, Livingston,
Alabama 35470; call (205) 652-7990 or (800) 949-7990; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
and go to www.bitzandpieces.net
TOMORROW: COYOTE LAKE